Building a College Resume by Lifeguarding

You want what’s best for your teen. That’s why you’ve spent the past 15-plus years taking them to soccer practice, picking them up late from drama club, or hounding them to finish their homework. Anything to get into a good school, after all.

But colleges look at more than just your son or daughter’s grades and test scores. It’s becoming increasingly common to see students receive that all-important acceptance letter with the assistance of some extracurricular activities. 

Lifeguarding is just one of those activities that jumps off the page to a college admissions officer, in part because a summer job demonstrates that your teen is ready to take on more responsibility. But there’s so much more to lifeguarding that will boost your son or daughter’s college resume, and prepare them with much-needed skills for their career to come.

Soft Skills

Being a lifeguard gives your teen plenty of opportunities to show their stuff, both in the pool and on their college applications. Lifeguarding is a great opportunity for them to hone their soft skills — what could also be described as interpersonal or intangible traits. These are just a handful of skills that college admissions will keep in mind.


Lifeguards must constantly be on alert and always be ready to exercise authority. Your teen would be trained to confidently protect and manage multiple pool guests, and may be required to make critical decisions during every shift.


Most lifeguards don’t guard alone. Even the most basic lifeguard training requires multiple guards to collaborate with one another and pool management to execute Emergency Action Plans, and keep the general public safe.

Time Management

Let’s face it: high school is rough. It’s not easy balancing schoolwork with a social life and growing pains when you’re 15. Add a summer job on top of that, and colleges look very favorably on a student with that much focus, determination, and versatility.


It’s not as simple as blowing a whistle and yelling, “No running!” The ability to speak firmly and deliver direct instructions clearly is paramount to any lifeguard’s performance.

Community Relations

People respect lifeguards. They’re doing a hard, often-thankless job. You can take pride knowing that your son or daughter is out there looking out for others and protecting your community. That’s a trait that goes beyond academics and demands admiration throughout one’s life.

Hard Skills

The soft skills a lifeguard demonstrates are the same ones you’d expect in many workplaces, but what about the hard skills? When do athleticism and emergency preparedness count for something in today’s academic and professional environment?

The answer is, actually, quite a lot. 

Any career in medicine — whether it’s as a doctor, nurse, EMT, you name it — will need practical experience. Lifeguards are already one step ahead of the game. With certifications in CPR, AED, and First Aid provided by the American Red Cross, your teen has all the necessary training of any first responder.

There’s also the scientific route. All of our lifeguards are thoroughly trained and prepared to handle a number of pool chemicals that include chlorine, bromine, and cyanuric acid. Learning their interactions — and what to do and what not to do with volatile chemicals — could just be extra credit outside of chemistry class.

The Right Blend of Experience

Lifeguarding isn’t just another summer job to make money. The skills they learn on the job will make it that much easier for them to develop a stronger academic and professional career. Many Guard for Life and American Pool employees started out as lifeguards, and are able to turn aquatics into a successful lifelong profession.

Instead of asking, “Why?” the question should really be, “Why not?” If your teen is considering lifeguarding as their first job, we’re hiring near your community. Take a look at these local opportunities and apply today!

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